From the country that brought you crème brulée, haute couture, and Marie Antoinette*, comes that grande dame of all decorating magazines, Elle Decoration France. Every issue is a treasure trove of interiors indulgence, and I'm like a greedy pirate plundering its glimmering pages.
The magazine highlights a mix of decorating styles, but I'm especially drawn to these antiques-laden spaces. Think rundown manors and timeworn pieds-à-terre--just right for hosting elite soirées or holing yourself away to pen your ouevre.
Even if you don't succumb to fits of ecstasy at the sight of all this faded glory (and in that case, what's wrong with you?!) there's still some serious inspiration to be gained from all this neoclassical goodness. Textures are multilayered, colors are rich and complex. Royal purple bench? Come to mama, my pretty!
And who knew that chartreuse and mauve is a match made in heaven? I love the idea of creating a hallway haven by painting the walls the same hue as the curtains, then lining the curtains in a dramatically different shade. Gleaming white floors and a crazy-quirky cabinet don't hurt either.
Another lesson from les français: even in opulence there must be order. Absent is the tacky, classless brick-a-brack of other periodicals (cough, Architectural Digest, cough). Instead you'll find carefully edited objets that seem to have grown organically over centuries.
Of course that doesn't mean you should take your vows of abstinence from les plaisirs! A massive gilt mirror is the ultimate in French fabulousness, especially in the bathroom. Drape your silk negligée over the chair and slather yourself with expensive body cream--preferably one that contains caviar.
You know how French girls possess that uncanny ability to look stunning no matter what they're wearing? Apparently that applies to French interiors as well. Damask wallpaper in robin's egg blue, fussy gold upholstery, and ancient prints matted in crinkled card--somehow it's totally working for me. Do we think Garance would approve?
It doesn't get better than this. A grey claw foot tub projects quiet continental élan, and mocha cream walls envelop the space with warmth. Battered wood floors offset the lavish rococo curves of the mirror and fixtures. The only thing missing? Me, in the bath, with a flute of champagne.*Yeah yeah, technically Marie Antoinette was Austrian, but just go with it, okay?
All images courtesy of Elle Decoration France .